Saturday, February 11, 2006

Sensitivity Or Fear?

(All emphases by Always On Watch)

From Michael Kinsley's commentary, "The Ayotollah Joke Book," in the February 10, 2006 edition of the Washington Post:
"...A lively debate is going on about whether Islam really does forbid any portrayal of the prophet, however benign, or whether that is a recent innovation of some subset of the faithful with possible ulterior motives. This debate misses the point. Some Christians believe they are required to wear particular sorts of clothing. Some Jews and Muslims don't eat pork. They don't claim that their religion requires other people to wear special clothing or avoid eating pork....

"But the limits of free expression cannot be set by the sensitivities of people who don't believe in [a particular teaching]...."
From Charles Krauthammer's commentary, "Curse of the Moderates," in the February 2006 edition of the Washington Post:
"...A true Muslim moderate is one who protests desecrations of all faiths. Those who don't are not moderates but hypocrites, opportunists and agents for the rioters, merely using different means to advance the same goal: to impose upon the West, with its traditions of freedom of speech, a set of taboos that is exclusive to the Islamic faith. These are not defenders of religion but Muslim supremacists trying to force their dictates upon the liberal West....

"What is at issue is fear. The unspoken reason many newspapers do not want to republish is not sensitivity but simple fear. They know what happened to Theo van Gogh, who made a film about the Islamic treatment of women and got a knife through the chest with an Islamist manifesto attached.

"The worldwide riots and burnings are instruments of intimidation, reminders of van Gogh's fate. The Islamic 'moderates' are the mob's agents and interpreters, warning us not to do this again. And the Western 'moderates' are their terrified collaborators who say: Don't worry, we won't...."
From Andrew Sullivan's essay, "Your Taboo, Not Mine," in the February 13, 2006 edition of Time Magazine:
"...Muslim leaders say the cartoons are not just offensive. They're blasphemy--the mother of all offenses. That's because Islam forbids any visual depiction of the Prophet, even benign ones. Should non-Muslims respect this taboo? I see no reason why. You can respect a religion without honoring its taboos. I eat pork, and I'm not an anti-Semite. As a Catholic, I don't expect atheists to genuflect before an altar. If violating a taboo is necessary to illustrate a political point, then the call is an easy one. Freedom means learning to deal with being offended....

"Yes, there's no reason to offend people of any faith arbitrarily. We owe all faiths respect. But the Danish cartoons were not arbitrarily offensive. They were designed to reveal Islamic intolerance--and they have now done so, in abundance. The West's principles are clear enough. Tolerance? Yes. Faith? Absolutely. Freedom of speech? Nonnegotiable."
Catering to "Muslim sensitivities" over a bunch of satiric cartoons published in a free press, particularly if that catering stems from fear of reprisals, amounts to turning the clock back to the Middle Ages, when the establishment of religion as the rule of law was the norm. Furthermore, such catering comes too close for comfort to supporting the validity of anti-blasphemy laws. And sometimes blasphemy is in the eye of the beholder, which is to say, subjective. And subjectivity can be dangerous.

Update from "Muslims' Fury Rages Unabated Over Cartoons," in the February 11, 2006 Washington Post:
"...In Sweden, the government shut down the Web site of a far-right political party's newspaper after it briefly posted a cartoon of Muhammad. It was the first time a Western government has intervened to block a publication in the controversy over the cartoons..."
More details about that brief paragraph in the Washington Post can be found here. [Hat tip to Heather, who left this link with details in the comments section at A New Dark Age Is Dawning]


At 2/11/2006 11:01 AM, Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

I agree, there is an attempt to intimidate. And those in the West who express sympathy for the sensibilities of Islamo-fascists while they threaten violence, only give aid and comfort to the enemy. I thought Krauthammer made may good points.

But even he and others have slipped into a manner of talking that suggests (but I’m sure he wouldn’t explicitly express) a moral equivalence. I’ve talked about that over at my place as you noticed.

It’s hard not to inadvertently get distracted. The Islamists have achieved that success with the help of the post-modernists. We are failing to discuss the fact that the cartoons are true. Mohammad was violent. Sure, there are many facets to discuss. But most have failed to return to the main point. The cartoons are true. We are fighting for both free speech and the truth.

That’s why I fear, Krauthammer, whom I respect, will skirt around the issue but never discuss it. By implication, Islam is just another religion with its own sensibilities. And Krauthammer is saying that we don’t establish any religion in our government. True. But it is also a barbaric practice and we need to speak out against it. Krauthammer isn’t ready to do that … yet. I hope we and others will wake up people like him.

At 2/11/2006 12:41 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Thank you! I hope that all who visit here will visit your site because what you've pointed out--avoiding the truth--is the real issue in all this.

Your opening paragraph:
We, who support the struggle of our brave Danish compatriots, are fighting with one hand tied behind our backs—and we are unaware of this handicap. Our side, in this battle, has failed to use our most important weapon: we are fighting for the truth. This isn’t incidental to the debate; this is the whole purpose of the debate! Freedom of speech isn’t irrelevant to the truth; it is a means required to establish the truth. The cartoons depict Mohammad as a violent man and that is the truth.

Early on during the cartoon furor, a few people on FNC's panel discussions (Fred Barnes and Charles Krauthammer among them) were talking about the truth. But the next time I turned on that panel discussion a few days later, I heard definite backtracking. It wasn't my imagination! My husband noticed the same thing. Our first thoughts: "Prince Alaweed!"

This morning, I heard one of the hosts of the early morning show on FNC make a few guarded comments; she didn't expand on them, however, even though her facial expressions said a lot about what she viewed as the truth of the cartoons.

It is so easy to slip into the legal issues, but we must not neglect that the reason these cartoons are so vile in the eyes of Muslims, who in some ways venerate MTP even more than Allah, is that the cartoons express truth, truth which the Muslim world has been trying to suppress for centuries and particularly for the last 60 years.

Sure, the cartoons might be distracting the world from what's happening with Iran and even China; and what's happening with and in those countries is very important--but not as important as proclaiming the truth about a man who advocated terrorism.

At your blog, and at my request, Mark provided the following information in a comment:

Allah revealed His will to the angels, saying: 'I shall be with you. Give courage to the believers. I shall cast terror into the hearts of the infidels. Strike off their heads, maim them in every limb.'

They but wish that ye should reject Faith, as they do, and thus be on the same footing (as they): but take not friends from their ranks until they flee in the way of God (from what is forbidden). But if they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them; and (in any case) take no friends or helpers from their ranks.

But when the forbidden months are past, then fight and slay the Pagans [that's us, folks!] wherever ye find them, and seize them, beleaguer them, and lie in wait for them in every stratagem (of war); but if they repent, and establish regular prayers and practise regular charity, then open the way for them; for God is Oft-forgiving, most Merciful.

Repentance = dhimmitude!

At 2/11/2006 4:01 PM, Blogger Mark said...

The problem for us is this: Those cartoons have touched a raw nerve, because, as you say, Jason, they depict the truth, they depict the harsh reality! They show what and who Muhammad really was. The truth, as they say, HURTS!

At 2/11/2006 4:05 PM, Blogger Iran Watch said...

It doesn't take that much to intimidate Sweden obviously. I guess selling out Denmark is their "jizya" to Islam. This is a time when all Western countries should say with one voice that free speech is a fundamental right and intimidation will not stop that right.
Thanks for that link. Apparently Iran's president believes he has no reason to fear the West. I guess we will find out if he is right or not.

At 2/11/2006 4:50 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Iran Watch,
Didn't take Sweden long to cave in. Dhimmis!

Ahmadinejad keeps ramping up his rhetoric. Can he back up his promise? That's the huge question. But even if he can't back up his promise, can he whip up the Muslim world into such a fury that a nuke isn't even necessary?

At 2/11/2006 10:20 PM, Blogger John Sobieski said...

The problem is the Muslims are confusing Dar al Harb (Land of War) and Dar al Dhimmi (Land of the lost Dhimmis). They think the war is over, and that we all are dhimmis. Wonder where they got that idea?

The Europeans are pretty much freaked out, and down right scared. I am not sure who got the word pusillanimous circulating to describe dhimmis, but it is certainly a perfect fit.

At 2/11/2006 11:26 PM, Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

I worry about the backsliding. It was the same with communism. In 1960 both political parties were trying to say the other guy was soft on communism. But 12 years later the Dems nominated McGoven. They left the Cold War and never returned. People understand but then they go back to old habits.

We'll have to see who develops resolve.

At 2/11/2006 11:36 PM, Blogger WomanHonorThyself said...

It appears the whole free world has been intimidated ...and needless to say the Leftists who shreik at silencing anyone have no outcry as to why none of the US papers or AP even reproduced the ridiculous toons for pple to see..Hmmm..

At 2/12/2006 12:34 AM, Blogger MissingLink said...

Talking about blasphemy:
I was trying to point out the fact to my Muslim visitors that the Quran is in fact a blasphemy to both faiths: Judaism and Christianity.

They seem to miss the point completely and keep repeating: “But we recognize Jesus (as a secondary prophet), or we have the same God as the Jews”.
Apart from the fact that they mix up the religious figures they also cannot grasp the difference between Judeo-Christian spirituality and almost earthy teachings of Islam (how to behave in everyday life).

This is an interesting interview with Hirsi Ali:

At 2/12/2006 12:56 AM, Blogger Bassizzzt said...

Ah, but the muslim cartoon t-shirt is here! A MUST HAVE:

I plan on wearing mine to work as soon as it comes in.

At 2/12/2006 3:12 AM, Blogger Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit said...

My (hopefully not too long awaited) rant is up at me blog.

At 2/12/2006 4:52 AM, Blogger beakerkin said...

We have the ability to save America without firing a single shot. The problem is we do not have the will to do it.

If we define Jihadism as totalitarian we should deman DHS add this to the list of questions. They currently ask about Communist and Nazi party membership .

Have you ever advocated or participated in Jihad ?

Have you contributed money to groups advocating Jihad ?

Did you work for the religous police ?

People that lie on these forms could be denaturalized. We should do it with people who contribute money to terrorist charities.

At 2/12/2006 9:27 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Your rant was worth the wait! You needed to get that out.

At 2/12/2006 9:28 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

The more the cartoon jihadists rant, the more products like that shirt will come out. Wonder when the coffee mugs and the bumper stickers will appear?

At 2/12/2006 9:31 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Thank you for pointing out how Islam blasphemes Christianity and Judaism. The Muslim refrain of “But we recognize Jesus (as a secondary prophet), or we have the same God as the Jews”. is so wearisome. But too many Christians and Jews don't know enough of their own theology to debunk the statement. I chalk some of that up to the inter-faith movement.

At 2/12/2006 9:35 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Woman Honor Thyself,
Besides the fear and the multiculturalism and the moral relevancy, some of our media may not be publishing the cartoons because readers and viewers might do a bit of research on their own. And where would that research lead? One area which education emphasizes is independent research, and most everyone with even a high-school education knows how to ferret out information.

At 2/12/2006 1:42 PM, Blogger Cubed © said...

The whole issue of Muslims in host countries demanding that we not portray Mohammed in ANY way (a prohibition of the Sunni, but not, apparently, of the Shi'ites) is just another example of the Islamic attempt to impose its own laws and customs on host nations.

This strategy is an oft-mentioned prelude on many of our blogs to the total takeover of non-Muslim parts of the world.

In our country, we have the First Amendment, and it is our custom to ridicule, via political cartoons, those thoughts and behaviors that we find fault with.

That is our law, our custom, and we should not allow either to be usurped or trivialized to any degree by Islam.

At 2/12/2006 3:46 PM, Blogger American Crusader said...

"using different means to advance the same goal: to impose upon the West, with its traditions of freedom of speech, a set of taboos that is exclusive to the Islamic faith. These are not defenders of religion but Muslim supremacists"

This is right on target...Western society is being attacked on a multitude of fronts, sometimes so many that you don't even notice them all. We need to point out every double standard that they seek to impose and stop it cold. We cannot allow them any latitude because to give an inch is to give a mile. I hate using these old phrases, but sometimes they fit better than anything else I could think up.

At 2/12/2006 3:58 PM, Blogger Iran Watch said...

Excellent word John, pusillanimous. I admit to having to look it up but it does describe a large percentage of those living in Western society. This is baffling to me, why should we look at Islam with fear? In every science Western society is at the forefront. When will Sudan put a man on the moon or when will Egypt develop a cure for polio. Granted that for a short time after the fall of Rome, Western society fell behind, but Islam voluntarily reverted back to strict interpretation of the Koran and gave up its onetime advantage. As a people, every significant accomplishment in science, mathematics..takes place in Western societies.

At 2/12/2006 4:54 PM, Blogger Mr. Beamish the Instablepundit said...


Yeah, I haven't had the time to jot down my thoughts during this whole cartoon jihad insanity, so I let it swell up in me until it became a full-fledged rant.

I'm also on a heavy antibiotic and not allowed to drink my beloved chocolate milk so I have a little extra anger.

At 2/12/2006 5:04 PM, Blogger LASunsett said...

Remeber the three prongs of jihad. Jihad of the tongue (propaganda) is still jihad. Its goal is the same goal, of those that blow people up. They just don't blow people up.

This time, they want to censor cartoons. What will they want to censor the next time, and the times after that?

At 2/12/2006 6:34 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Maybe hijabs for ALL women during Ramadan?

I hope that I'm kidding.

At 2/12/2006 6:35 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Sick, are you? Well, it didn't interfere with the eloquence of your rant. Hehehe.

At 2/12/2006 7:05 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

Islamification--that's how I see these inroads.

At 2/12/2006 7:14 PM, Blogger LASunsett said...


The hijab thing is likely to go over every bit as well, as us guys getting several wives. I can only speak for myself here mind you, but a lead balloon would float away before that would be allowed at my house. And as busy as she keeps me, I can't say I could use another one, anyway.


At 2/12/2006 10:16 PM, Blogger Mike's America said...

Always a good discussion here Always on Watch!

I didn't blog this, but an interesting article in the International Herald Tribune:

Tracing the trail of the cartoon war. Seems they left out Iran's role in this mess.

I plan to get into the Iran problem this week.

At 2/13/2006 10:34 AM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

I'll check that link.

At 2/13/2006 6:15 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

That article fails to make one important point: in a free nation, the government should exert control over newspaper publications.

Of course Iran is behind some of the fracas!

Furthermore, the election of Hamas has emboldened the Islamists. We are now seeing the most serious of tests as relating to freedom of expression. Anti-blasphemy laws run counter to two freedoms which most Americans take for granted--freedom of the press and the separation of established religion and the state.

At 2/14/2006 6:18 AM, Anonymous Don said...

We can run but we will just die tired. There is going to be a final showdown just like a bad western. The jihadists will force the shootout. We will win but it aint gonna be purty.

At 2/14/2006 9:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Off-topic... I found the attached link interesting, wonder if you'd seen it.



At 2/16/2006 7:57 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

I, too, believe that a final showdown is coming. I had hoped to be dead and gone by the time the showdown arrived. I don't think that way now.

At 2/16/2006 7:58 PM, Blogger Always On Watch said...

I knew that I'd heard the term "The Wide Awakes" before!

Sometimes I worry about all the stuff I've forgotten.


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